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Archive for the ‘jams’ Category

What the hell are ramps anyway?  For most of my life I’d never heard of the things and then about five or six years ago, they started popping up everywhere.  The way folks go on and on about them you’d think they’d cure cancer, world peace and the international debt crisis.  How can something possibly live up to that hype?  Then I tasted some.  Huh.  Oniony, garlicy with an ever so slight funky edge that is so much more interesting than a scallion or straight up onion.  Worth it?  I think so.  They’re also a sure sign that spring has arrived, even more so than the season’s first asparagus or rhubarb.  I think that’s what we’re all really looking for after a few dreary months so maybe a little crazy behavior is expected.

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Sometimes in the dead of a dreary winter, I need something bright.  Recently, heaps and heaps of citrus in all their vivid glory – oranges, grapefruits, lemons, clementines, pommelos – flat out distracted me.  The stunning displays immediately brought to mind images of a warmer, sunnier climate; somewhere, ANYWHERE but here.  I inhaled their sweet-tart fragrance and smiled as I glanced around.  And there, on the end … there they were.  Bright orange with a flush of reddish pink the only hint of what lay inside.  Yep, blood oranges.  Hot damn.  And the Moro variety to boot – I’ve found them to be a little sweeter than some of the others.  Slice them open and you’re rewarded with a shock – deep, almost purple flesh and a sweet flavor.  I immediately scooped up a bunch thinking I’d make something lovely and pinkish for Valentine’s Day.

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I’m a pack rat.  I save everything and as I’ve documented on this site, when offered free food it’s impossible for me to refuse.  I had a real problem with it this summer working the farmer’s market.  But always one to turn lemons into lemonade, I turned excess fruit into jam.  An abundance of jam.  A ridiculous amount of jam.  Sure, it’s delicious and in an array of fantastical combinations – pinot fraise de bois, white peach beaume de venise, raspberry Valrhona chocolate, santa rosa plum, white peach fraise de boise, Italian plum zinfandel among many MANY others.  Really tasty stuff.  There’s just a lot of it.

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jam jar

This weekend, I took some time to visit family in Southern Indiana.  I’ve always gotten a kick out of my aunt and uncle – they’re hilarious, a little kooky and live in a solar house they built themselves in the beautiful woods of Brown County, near Bloomington.  They used to buy a couple piglets in the spring and have a big “butcher the pigs” shin-dig around (more…)

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in the sink.lrg

Deep deep in my heart, I think I’m really a farmer.  Growing and making things with my hands is so deeply satisfying I can’t quite explain it.  I think this is why I have such an appreciation for farmers markets and try to coax my sad little city window boxes to do impossible things with varying degrees of success.  Herbs, yes.  Tomatoes, not so much.

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